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Suffocation's introduction of a new era of brutality in the 90s death metal scene came to a sudden and temporary halt at the close of said decade, arguably at a point where their influence was truly starting to take root as old school death/thrash was completely abandoned in favor of either a completely brutal or technical offspring of what occurred within their first 3 LPs. Their last little consolation to what was surely a rabid and growing fan base was a limited and brief EP in "Despise The Sun" that functions as a sort of final echo to what had been accomplished before, with perhaps a slight hint of what would become of the growing brutal and technical scenes in their absence.
While it can be plainly seen that the overall character of this band's sound didn't change significantly from their widely hailed 3rd album "Pierced From Within", the concentration of those same elements definitely takes a noticeable twist. Constant blasting with occasional hint of mid tempo work here and there is the norm here, not all that different from what was going on with Cryptopsy right before Lord Worm dropped out. The impressive shred work and general business of the riff work is still largely present, but in a less active sense, almost as if giving a slight nod to a number of bands who would proceed to dumb down the style a bit, though here it still functions as worthy of the band's sound.
In no uncertain terms, this EP is essentially Suffocation's first absolute break with their thrash metal roots, which were still a bit present circa their last LP and very much a factor in providing the foundation of "Effigy Of The Forgotten" and "Breeding The Spawn", in much the same way as was heard on Cannibal Corpse's handiwork during the Chris Barnes days. Granted, what's going on here is a bit more technically impressive when dealt with note for note, but the emphasis has clearly shifted away from flashy, Bay Area inspired guitar solo sections to a more subtle a brief approach where noodling is built into the riff work. While definitely a far cry from what Arsis and Decrepit Birth would bring to the table, it's not out of line to speculate on how this EP may have paved the way for them in an overal structural sense.
"Despise The Sun" is definitely a good album, though it listens more like an afterthought than an actual independent entity unto itself. It's not quite in the realm of being an essential pickup, but it is a nice little sampler for a would be tech. fanatic as introductory material to this band with a greater degree of modernity, and if there is a future release of one of the early LPs with this as a bonus CD, it would be a good bonus and be preferrable to getting a stand alone album. It's a fitting close to an era of this band that was obviously showing some fatigue and needed a good 3-4 year rest, ending on a slightly less strong note, but still miles ahead of any comparable competition within their own little brutal/technical niche.
The year is 1998, Suffocation have already released 1 Ep, and 3 albums. Judging from the sound of those releases, Its clear why Suffocation are the innovators of brutal death metal in general, and have established a name for themselves to where bands from different regions are "plagiarising" their sound, which proves why they are truly a brand in death metal in itself.
With that being said, the 5 songs on here are amazing, and clock in around 16 minutes, but hell the listening experience is sure worth it. This is their last release for a while after they broke up so this would be considered as a filler for me in between "Pierced From Within", and their long hiatus.
The Ep's sound is great. The mix, and production is great you can hear no distortions of any kind. The bass is very audible throughout the album, and adds some punchy flavor to each of the songs. Guitar work is crisp as ever, and follows the same intricate path as "Pierced From Within" did. The vocals really show Frank Mullen's true vocal ability, and potential to where he literally sounds like the pissed off version of the cookie monster in almost every track. Not to mention, he's more coherent here then his predecessors so its easy to tell what he says without having to read the lyrics. The drums however, don't have that Mike Smith tangible feel i would generally hear in albums such as "Effigy of the Forgotten" or "Breeding the Spawn". Dave Culross can't touch Mike Smith's "sound" that makes Suffocations sound so brutal. One things for certain though, his drumming manages to fit perfect with the bands sound with his blast beats, drum fills, odd timings, double bass, and slow tempo breakdowns. The atmosphere the sound on "Despise the sun" creates is great thanks to these talented musicians
The overall verdict is that this Ep is great. It has that typical Suffocation sound you would expect to hear except this album makes me feel like I'm listening to a deathcore album. Wait did I just said that? Well this wasn't intentionally supposed to be done that way, but its clear to me that starting with this release, Suffocation are not only the innovators of brutal/slam metal, but also deathcore along with "Dying Fetus". You can hear the influence it has on the genre from the slow tempo breakdown in "Funeral Inception", which has that typical deathcore breakdown you'd hear in today's standards.
This would be a perfect score, but the fact that there aren't enough songs to ascend the number percentage is the reason, but other then that this release is probably the best in their discography along with their debut.
Eye candy tracks: "Funeral Inception", "Devoid of Truth", and "Catatonia"
"Despise the sun" is an amazing follow-up to their immensely creative and innovative full-length release “Pierced from within”. Although short in length, this ep reinforces the fact that Suffocation possesses an amazing chemistry that will always place them at the top of the brutal death metal pyramid.
The listener is thrown immediately into a pit of rabid dogs with the opening track "Funeral Inception". Dave Culross's command of the drum kit is flawless throughout this entire album, but his creativity really stands out in the first 50 seconds of this song. He builds up the anticipation with a slick 32nd note snare roll followed by a complete explosion of unrelenting blast beat mayhem. He proves within the first minute of the song that he was a worthy replacement for Mike Smith.
The guitar tones are incredibly heavy and thick and sit well in the mix. The Bass guitar is not hidden but lacks a little thickness. This is partially due to the fact the kick drum is filling in that void. Many great production values exist on this album. Thanks to Scott Burns for harnessing the amazing talent within this group and for turning out another well-balanced and tight sounding record.
Frank fucking kills it the entire time with a voice that could make the devil himself shit in his pants. Frank’s vocal creativity really stands out on the closing track “Catatonia” where he synchronizes his vocals with Dave’s pulverizing drums near the end of the track. There are short pauses followed by blast beat explosions. One of Frank’s vocal strengths is his deep pulverizing growls. This facet of Franks voice really adds a degree of brutality, which elevates the bands heaviness factor to a higher level. Another track that Frank really stands out on is “Devoid of Truth”. It begins with the sentence: “Your life has been planned since the day you were born” followed by some strong screams both high and low pitched. This track has to be one of the strongest for me on the album, too bad it’s the shortest (2:31). The lyrical content within the entire album is very cerebral and meaningful. You can tell Frank put a lot of time and effort into the lyrics, which resulted in a very cool and creative album lyrically.
All in all, this album is a monster. I won’t comment much more because frankly, you just need to listen to it, again and again. It’s all you could want from a brutal death metal album and much more.
Ps. If you can, get your hands on the yellow vinyl re-press of this album. It’s a great find and very cool piece for any serious collector!
Oh man, this is the dawn of the yawn! Right after Pierced From Within, Suffocation didn't manage to get my ears pierced at all... Actually, my ears were more muffled than ever.
This EP is a collection of plain blasts, annoying start-stop signatures (the funny thing is that breaks do no harm to brilliant riffs, but so many breaks and so few and forgettable riffs, hehe...). A thing that made me very glad were the variety of blasts employed. No Cryptopsy, but it's so nice that blastbeats can have so many nuances... But the mid-tempo sequences were carefully selected in order to screw the better moments (fortunately, they did not ruin them entirely). Some more inventive cymbal use, as found in Despise The Sun, plenty of pedals... but not far from the standard shit.
The riffs cannot bear comparison to those in the past, these are only riffs fo' moshin', bitch! Meaning that we have occasional twisted progressions, Suffo style, but most of the time, angry amelodic riffing supported by ceaseless savage drumming. The only moment to hold more drama is Catatonia, following a mid-paced tempo and a morbid riff, but even THAT does get boring.
The bass is sometimes audible, like the bass tickling moment in the last section of Funeral Inception, but most of the time it lurks in the bassist's ass (Pierced From Outside, right?). Above the din is Frank Mullen, a true Pork Soda addict (or maybe we should call it DUFFocation?). I just guess he wanted to get a little more pig-throated on this than on the previous opus, and he succeeded. This is how we could explain the break-up of Suffocation: some butchers may have mistaken Mullen for a real pig and chased him several years until they finally realised they had confused him.
Overall, this EP left me with a taste of SHIT in my mouth. This is extremely influential death metal. And extremely uninteresting. I feel so glad that I had to sit through only little over a quarter of an hour of this thing. You just sit there and listen, wanking while listening at this may be more challenging than you have expected.
When I first listened to this EP I said: “Fuck, this is incredible!!”. We are in 1998 and after 3 years of silence from “Pierced From Within” here we have, in my opinion, some of the best tracks ever made by Suffocation.
Let’s begin from “Funeral Inception” that is the true masterpiece on this great EP. After a short introduction, hell is unleashed. More or less 4 minutes of blasting technical brutal death metal. The new drummer, Culross, (who joined Suffocation just for this release) has got everything: he’s fast, brutal and technical. The guitars are as usual, tuned down but the riffs seem to be more direct than in the past. There’s a will to destroy everything by different patterns and lots of times they are faster and less complex, not like Suffocation used to do in the past. This is a great track and it’s also taken to close each Suffocation live concert. Frank Mullen is, as usual, great with his infernal growls.
Let the massacre continue with “Devoid of Truth”. This song begins with a fast drums introduction and it continues without stops grinding your head for 2 minutes and half. Here we have the new essence of Suffocation in that period: fast and heavy as fuck. The riffs are in fast succession and they are always quite complex but there’s something more direct and “essential”.
Now it’s time for the title track to begin with a more “progressive” guitars part (if we can use this word for Suffocation), but after 30 seconds it’s another bloodbath…fast guitars and fast drumming. We can also find a small break in the middle, but it’s immediately forgotten thanks to another fist full of brutality. The blast beats are powerful, low in sounds but massive and they follow the atmosphere of pure darkness that lies among these compositions.
“Blood Churn” is another bomb of violence. The guitars and the drums create a never heard before massacre, so expect no compromise and no mercy…just death for your head. In this case Mullen’s vocals are unbelievable…the best. They are growlish but somehow more comprehensible than in the past. By the way, generally, they are always unbelievably powerful and far better than most of the ones by others growlers around. This is my favourite track after “Funeral Inception”.
To close this hellish EP we have a new version of the legendary track “Catatonia”, originally written in 1988 and included in the ’90 EP “Human Waste”. Some parts are different, especially if we are talking about the drumming that is far faster and more brutal. Where in the original version there were the up tempo parts, now we find a long series of blast beats and the relentless, hammering double kick work. This version is far faster but the original one is always more particular and original if we want.
On this EP Suffocation concentrated everything on the sheer impact of the instruments and they cared less about the technique. By the way, these songs remain always quite technical, also because they are not grind but they are far more brutal than the usual standard and they are also truly catchy because well-structured and the chorus are easy to recognize. This is an EP for fans of brutal death metal and for those who want to know the power of Suffocation.
Let’s just start with the negatives because there are so many positives and awesome things about this EP that you'll probably skip the negatives. I have but one bitch about this EP. It's too damn short. Another song or two and Suffocation would achieve Death Metal perfection. Other than that this album is the quintessential Death Metal EP.
Every song is a pulsating, pounding, unrelenting, ball shattering epic. My hearts hurt after listening to this EP and they hurt so fucking good. The relentless riffs, the insane drumming tech., the vocals; all astonishing. Also making a welcome return are the deep and thought out lyrics that Suffocation fans have come to enjoy.
What is even more impressive is just how damn much sound and awesome musicianship these guys can put into 5 songs. My personal favorite track is "Devoid of Truth". It is the paramount of what a death metal song should sound like. From the first few drum blasts it rips into one of the best riffs I have heard in a very long time. And then of course the bad ass, kick ass lyrics and vocals kick in bringing the song to it’s absolute zenith of power.
I really cannot praise this EP enough. Suffocation has proven that they are some of the finest, if not the finest, death metalists around with this EP. Drop everything right now and go buy this EP. It's worth far more than the price you pay to buy it.
Just before Suffocation's initial split, this 5 track EP was recorded, yet unfortunately left to languish in obscurity until Relapse picked it up and released it in early 2003. Until the recent reunion, this was doomed to be their final record: yet a better epitaph would be hard to come by.
The trademarks that swiftly bitch-slapped/hacked (delete where appropriate) Suffocation all the way to the top of the deathgrind scrapheap in the early to mid-90s are all present - Frank Mullen's savage bark and terrific lyrics, the drop key; stop-start; oft modulating riffs, but best of all, the complex, subtly inimitable songwriting, courtesy of the deft and dynamic guitar tag team of Doug Cerrito and Terrance Hobbs, that has all these elements repeating and folding in on themselves, yet still making perfect sense thanks to use of relatively conventional structures. Truth be told, this element that served their masterpiece Pierced From Within so well, is not so much prevalent here, and indeed less so in recent times - which accounts somewhat for the diluted feel of Souls To Deny - but the sparing use of tricks of timing, and increase (yes, increase) in sheer blunt force that is shown here, more than compensates. The main reason for this is that the song lengths are halfed from the endlessly cut-throat 6 minute epics of days past such as Thrones Of Blood - effectively doubling the power on show. And kudos to Scott Burns, the death metal producer/engineer auteur, for adding further to this, by abandoning the compressed and choking (but not always best) feel from Suffo-debut Effigy Of The Forgotten and so many other heavy records. He has replaced this with a more expansive, rumbling, but no less humid production, that is effortlessly backed up by extreme sticksman Dave Culross in some of his most physically demanding and straight-ahead work even to date.
But again, the RIFFS! The bands' knowledge of music theory still shines strong here, proving that tricks that have been used for centuries of music can be applied to the most fresh and bloodthirsty genres. This is where many of Suffocation's pallid, one dimensional imitators fall by the wayside - how could those uneducated, hormone-driven wastrels that give this genre a bad name possibly come up with a work as grand as Catatonia? Said song, re-recorded off Human Waste, benefits from all the above points and truly ascends an already good song to classic level, maybe even the band's greatest. All of this helps to make Suffocation's least trick-laden and shortest production, at 16 minutes - their most potent.
Using and twisting the rules of audience expectation and musical guidelines to create something both staggeringly nasty and remarkably intelligent - hello newbies, this is the oft copied, rarely equalled, never bettered world of Suffocation. Please, grab a towel and get some rays, but forget the suncream, because this is music to burn to: on a VERY hot day. Even if they have lost a little of their edge, it's good to have them back - so that they may eventually once again teach us a very important lesson. Until that day, abandon your stereotypes of the genre, and certaintly of this band, because until further notice, your homework is Despise The Sun. Highly recommended.
===Also posted at www.musicmademe.com by myself===
Let's face it, these EP's are usually nothing but fillers filled in with one or two kickass tracks. What Suffocation put out before their short departure is definitally not one of those EP's. They're told to be the masters at their art, and they are! How do Suffocation do it? I have no fucking clue but somehow they always seem to give the fans what they want. Makes me proud to be a New Yorker because they, as this album demonstrates, prove that we New Yorkers are no jokes and we are LOUD, BRUTAL, and INNOVATIVE. Let's not get off topic though - this is about the mighty Suffocation, not (the great)New York... lol.
"The greatest trick that the devil has ever pulled was convincing the world he doesn't exist." After that quite humourous (yet true?) introduction on "Funeral Inception", riffs galore with blast beats pumbling your speakers/headphones. The sound is just so damn crisp clear... everything can be heard on the album, even the bass. Death metal groups don't put alot of bass sound into their music, but Suffocation knew better not to be like that. Anyway, the riffs start off slow yet headbangeable but then they start becoming fast and relentless. Then comes the snare drums... then boom! If you were in a concert live seeing Suffocation, you would be devoured by mosh pits by the time this part of the song comes. Frank delivers his oh-so-damn perfect death metal growls into the mix of the madness, creating chaos. Hell I'm not much of a mosher, but the first time I heard this at my home on my boombox, I couldn't help but headbang like crazy to this tune. Of course the song has it's breakdown in the middle, going back to a slow tempo headbanging momment. I love the breakdown here because the guitars sound so damn heavy-as-hell - just slow grinding sounds are amplified. Utterly awesome! This seems to be a signature of Suffocation's and they should never change that. The song finishes after a good 4 minutes, leaving you breatheless yet wanting more. So you await the next track after that brief 4 second pause into the next song... and you await anxiously until "Devoid of Truth" blasts aloud.
As I mentioned before, these EP's usually would have a bunch of fillers. "Devoid Of Truth" isn't a filler, nor is any track on this CD. As "Funeral Inception", this is yet another monster of a track. Once again, you'll catch yourself headbanging to the beginner riff and the wreckage of the drums. Frank slabs his vocals down, dragging you more into the music and you wishing the song would never finish. Nothing much more to say here; this is another crazy piece of work put out by Suffocation. Up to this point, you're neck WILL be hurting!
Now the highlite of the album is "Despise The Sun"; a genuis piece of death metal work. From the beginning, the progressive riffs which vary from slow to fast creates anticipation... then wham, you're slapped by the speed and intensity of the druming, and the meaty bass backing up the drums. The grinding sounds insane like usual and the vocals seap into the cracks of the music. As before, there's a breakdown and blastbeats galore in this one with Franks vocals fading into the breakdown. Gets you wondering why this is the name of the album... (sarcasm).
"Blood Churn" is one of the only tracks on the album which seems like Suffocation didn't put their all into the creativity but it's still a noteable track. The way Frank sang the lyrics in this track don't really fit in with the speed/intensity of the music. It just doesn't seem right; it's more like Frank is speaking in the song with his death metal style vocals than actually singing. Still, the music is insane and the breakdowns are brutal as fuck!
The last track is "Catatonia", originally from the Human Waste EP (which is another noteworthy Suffocation release... hell all of their releases are noteworthy!). It seems that Suffocation re-recorded all the studio tracks on Human Waste onto later recordings except "Catatonia." The time has come I assume and here it is: rejuvenated and better than the last version. The version on Human Waste is not the greatest of production (nor is the whole EP) and it seems alil slower than the version on Despise The Sun. They sped it up alil on this EP with faster breakdowns and vocals delivered quicker. As most of the tracks on Human Waste, this "grind version" of the track is a classic! It's one of those slow tempo grinding tracks that progressively speed up in the breakdowns as the insanity speeds up. Like I remarked, this is a classic, just re-recorded.
Despise The Sun was a great last album for Suffocation's short departure. Though we know that today, they're reunited and released a new album (Souls To Deny) but this was at the time a nice way to depart: with a near classic EP release which is sort of a follow up to Suffocation's prior release "Pierced From Within." This was my first Suffocation album to buy from them and I don't regret it. It's a good "sampler" to finding out what Suffocation are all about. This is one of their best works and will give you a great first impression of the group. With crisp clear production, well-written lyrics and geat musicianship, this is a definite must-have and as I said before, is a good sampler to the group for those of you who still don't know who Suffocation are (and shame on you for not knowing one of the greatest death metal groups in the world!).
Ear catchers: All of them will get your neck broken in no time! Especially Funeral Inception and the revised grindish version of Catatonia.
This was Suffocation’s last release before they broke up, and it featured the insanely talented Dave Culross on drums. His performance alone makes this album a must hear. Not only is Culross one of the best in terms of double bass speed, he plays the cymbals like no other drummer. His constant hammering on the cymbals creates a shimmering wall of sound. His snare drum is a little to quiet in the mix, but it’s still audible.
The other musicians are all great, Doug Cerrito and Terrance Hobbs are excellent guitarists, and Chris Richard’s bass is pretty easy to hear in the mix, thanks to Scott Burns (is there anything he hasn’t mixed or produced?). Unfortunately, my favorite part of Suffocation’s earlier recordings was Frank Mullen’s inhuman, low, guttural, sadistic, and beastly vocals. The vocals went downhill from their first release, the Human Waste EP all the way to this one. He adopted a much more clear and standard grunt, and while it’s still awesome it lacks the sheer brute power heard on Effigy of the Forgotten. The lyrics aren’t that outstanding, standard death metal.
“Funeral Inception” has one of the best intros ever, the saying, “The greatest trick the devil ever told was convincing the world He didn’t exist”. What makes this so great is that the voice has been altered, dropped down an octave or two and panned to both speakers at different speeds. After that, the song picks up with it’s heavy and catchy guitar line for about 45 seconds, and Dave Culross gets to flex his drumming muscles on this, he blasts away like a madman until the chorus where Mullen steals the show. This song is an absolute juggernaut, and it alone makes this cd worth buying. 10/10
“Devoid of Truth” is a faster track, with some weird guitar sounds and a pretty fast vocal performance, with Culross yet again blasting away and pounding the cymbals like no other. This is how death metal should be played, fast, brutal and catchy but not inaccessible. 9/10
“Despise the Sun” starts out with a great guitar line, dissident but it works very well with the song. Frank’s vocals get fooled around a bit, with some lines being delivered in the left channel and some in the right. This should be heard with headphones because it feels like he’s right there next to you. This is probably the least memorable track, but definitely a 8/10.
The cd picks up speed again for the second best track on here, with an absolutely insane drumming performance and chorus. The fast little guitar trills make “Bloodchurn” one of the band’s strongest tracks. The chorus is great; even though it’s simple (greed, hate, deception) it’s delivered with intense feeling and emotion. 10/10
A remake of “Catatonia” ends this EP. This is the EP’s simplest song, with memorable lyrics, straightforward song structures and incredible musicianship. The band really clicks here, and all the instruments are in perfect time and the solo really fits the song. A great end to an even better cd. Definitely buy this one if you are a fan old school death metal. It contains some of the fastest drumming, most brutal vocals, and greatest guitar work ever recorded.